|If hand-powered tools are too much for you to manage, cordless, Energy Star-certified tools are the next best thing.|
Early in the season we’re always gung-ho with the loppers and garden shears. We have been happy to trim shrubs, clip tall weeds beside our stream and cut the high grass growing along the edge of the deck, all by hand using nothing but the most basic tools and elbow grease.
But after years of by-hand gardening in a fairly large yard using shears that never held an edge, left shrubs a little shaggy looking and made my wrists ache, we decided enough is enough and invested in a weed whacker and hedge trimmer.
Elbow grease is of course the greenest route to lawn care, but if it’s too daunting or too much work and you want powered yard tools, the next best choice is cordless instead of gas powered. We switched to a cordless lawn mower three summers ago and have been very pleased with our choice. There is a great variety of cordless tools available, with good battery life, easy recharging and no extension cord to haul around.
Cordless tools are 90% less polluting that the standard two-stroke engine and at least 20% more efficient than a four-stroke engine. (If you mix oil and gas together to run your lawn mower, it’s a two-stroke engine. If your oil and gas is separate, it’s a four-stroke.)
If you need more convincing to move away from gas-powered lawn care tools (including mowers) consider this: according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a new gas powered mower pollutes as much in an hour of mowing as 8 new cars driving on the highway for an hour (two-stroke engine). And there are ground level emissions that you’re inhaling as you mow or trim. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one gas mower spews 120 lbs. of CO2 and other pollutants into the air every year. There is no data for other gas-powered lawn care tools. With smaller engines the emissions are lower but add up over the growing season nonetheless.
Another reason to switch from gas-powered: the EPA also estimates that over 17 million gallons of fuel (mostly gasoline) is spilled each year while refueling lawn equipment. These spills work their way into groundwater and also emit volatile organic compounds that are harmful if inhaled.
An often overlooked perk of cordless lawn care equipment is the peace and quiet of yard work. While battery operated equipment isn’t quite early-morning quiet, it is quieter than your regular gas-powered equipment.
If you’re looking for cordless equipment choose Energy Star certified models. To receive the certification, lawn mowers, string trimmers, shears, and other cordless yard care tools must use at least 35% less energy than non-certified models, a requirement set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Our mower is Earthwise brand from Kent and our new trimmers are Ryobi from Home Depot (an Eco Option). Canadian Tire carries a selection of tools as does Home Hardware so you won’t have to go out of your way to make an eco-friendly choice.